Caring for the natural places that exist in the hearts of our cities is the basis of NFWF conservation programs in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Memphis and other urban areas. With hands-on participation by local community members, these actions are restoring and protecting vanishing green enclaves to benefit people and wildlife.
In many of these efforts, corporate partners take a leading role. NFWF’s collaboration with FedEx EarthSmart Outreach, for example, is a nationwide effort that engages FedEx team members in urban conservation. Now in 14 cities, EarthSmart Outreach projects have been cleaning up degraded streams, planting trees, building rain gardens, and making schoolyards green since 2010.
The involvement of company volunteers is a plus for the organization, said Mitch Jackson, vice president, environmental affairs and sustainability, FedEx Corp. “Working alongside NFWF in the vital task of urban ecological preservation and restoration provides a unique opportunity for FedEx team members to play an active role in addressing these challenges and improving the communities where they live and work.”
The Walmart / NFWF Acres for America program, which includes projects in both rural and metropolitan sites, is another model of successful cooperation between corporate and environmental communities. Launched in 2005 with a pledge to protect one acre of conservation land for every acre occupied by Walmart’s U.S. facilities, Acres for America now supports conservation projects in 26 states across the country, with new investments in urban areas like Denver, Washington, D.C., and San Diego. In New York City, Walmart and NFWF have joined with the New York Botanical Garden to enhance the Bronx River Water Trail, which carries hundreds of canoeists and kayakers through the Botanical Garden each year. By restoring the shoreline, adding native plants to nearby woodlands, and replacing an asphalt portage trail with permeable pavement, the project will improve habitat and provide visitors with a remarkable nature experience in the inner city.
“Walmart is thrilled to be associated with this work, and we are especially proud of our associates who generously contribute their time to these conservation and restoration projects,” said Jennifer May-Brust of Walmart. “These projects make the outdoors more sustainably available, and it’s certainly an honor to be a part of that.”